HE PROS AND CONS OF USING ARBITRATION
Most attorneys try to settle an injury claim without mediation or arbitration. This is because they remain in control of the outcome, while arbitration is not always predictable. However, there is a place for arbitration in personal injury cases, and there are also disadvantages to going through it.
The Pros of Arbitration
Avoids the courtroom hostility. Arbitration allows both sides to participate fully and find a resolution. They may work together more amicably than they would in the courtroom, and it is unlikely for hostility to escalate because both sides know that the arbitrator’s decision might be final and binding.
Cheaper than courtroom litigation. Most importantly, arbitration is less expensive than going to a jury trial. Arbitrators have a per day fee for their services, but even then, that fee is cheaper than the cost of a full hearing. The process is quicker too, which means lesser attorney fees and a faster resolution.
Faster resolutions for injury victims. You are suffering from your injuries, but also have living costs that you cannot afford much longer. When you go to trial, it could take weeks or months to resolve. Arbitration goes faster, and you will receive a settlement quicker.
More flexibility and an informal environment. If the idea of going to court scares you, arbitration might be a better route. The process is informal; you are not dealing with the confines of the court. Also, there is more flexibility in scheduling. You are not waiting weeks to make it on to the docket, you can schedule a hearing around your needs, and some arbitrators will even do evenings and weekends.
Simplified rules when it comes to evidence and court procedure. Arbitration does not have the same convoluted rules of evidence. You can call witnesses, produce documents, and skip over the scheduled tasks of a traditional hearing including interrogations, depositions, and the entire discovery phase.
Everything is kept private. If you choose arbitration, you can keep the outcome from the public record.
The Cons of Arbitration
The cons of arbitration vary depending on the case. However, the biggest disadvantage is that you may be stuck with the decision, and that means limited recourse if you disagree. If you were to go to trial, you have the option to appeal. Arbitration is also questionable when it comes to the objectivity of the arbitrator. You may not be able to pick the arbitrator, and the outcome can be highly unpredictable depending on who the court assigns.
Most personal injury cases settle out of court, but how they settle can vary. Some cases end during essential negotiations and often before the courts are involved. Other times, the case goes through alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation or arbitration.
Today we focus on the use of arbitration in personal injury cases – and how your case might require arbitration, the process of it, and potential outcomes.
WHAT IS ARBITRATION AND WHY IS IT USED IN HOUSTON, TX INJURY CASES?
To ease the burden on the court’s schedule, some personal injury attorneys might opt for arbitration over a traditional trial. Arbitration still puts both sides in control of the outcome – compared to the unpredictable nature of a jury trial.
This legal proceeding is informal, and both sides can dispute, offer testimony, provide evidence, and work alongside a neutral third party known as an arbitrator. The arbitrator is the “referee” of the process. Typically, your arbitrator is a retired judge or an attorney that has vast experience in personal injury cases. They are not affiliated with either side and instead, help facilitate an agreement and ultimately decide on the matter.
After both sides have presented their evidence, the arbitrator will decide on the case. Arbitration might be binding or non-binding. If it is binding, that means you have entered a court-ordered arbitration (which makes it mandatory), and the arbitrator’s decision is final.
If the case is entering non-binding arbitration, then both sides have the right to reject the arbitrator’s decision. However, the case does not restart. Instead, it proceeds to a jury trial.
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